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Comments about ‘Matthew Sanders: How lessons from Easter and Passover should help us preserve religious freedom’

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Published: Wednesday, March 27 2013 2:06 p.m. MDT

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Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Ahhh yes, the old standby non-sequitur – “our virtue comes from religion.” And then comes the demonstrably false non-sequitur – “our Constitution is a fundamentally religious document.”

Fact one – religion did not invent (our innate) morality, it hijacked it. As to whether religious people are more ethical than the non-religious, I’ll simply submit Sweden (the most atheist country in the world) as an empirical test case.

Fact two – our Constitution was the first purely secular governing charter in the history of the world and has protected us from the tyranny of religion for over two centuries.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Tyler D,

I think religion and virtue are fed from the same font within us. The LDS would call this the Light of Christ. Religion gives those virtuous tendencies structure and means.

I cannot be sure the Constitution was the first purely secular charter - but is certainly meant to provide a separation to allow govt. to be free of direct religious influence (as in an official religion) and to allow religion to flourish without being beholden to the state.

I think this is has helped religion retain its vibrancy in the US vs. Europe. Strong ties between states and particular religious denominations does not appear to have favored those denominations in the long run.

The tie between virtue and governance is inarguable.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Twin Lights

It would have been a better article had you wrote it.

Gets very tiring reading sanctimonious stuff like this that contains the implied premise – “the world is full of wicked and sinful people, except for we the faithful.”

Combine this with the dubious attempt to make our Founders out to be way more religious than they were, and it all starts to get a bit nauseating… or at least deserving of a heartfelt “oh puleeze!”

And the same John Adams Sanders quotes also said the following:

“The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity.”

So perhaps there’s some degree of ambiguity regarding Adams’ religious views. At least Sanders didn’t have the audacity to quote Thomas Paine.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Twin Lights – “The tie between virtue and governance is inarguable.”

And regarding you last comment (above), I completely agree. But check out this quote from Sanders’ article:

“Naturally, individuals who look to scripture as a moral code that is tied to likely rewards or punishment in the afterlife will be more self-governing…”

Is this really the highest form of morality we can aspire to – we’ll be good because we’ll get the heavenly barcalounger, and if not it’ll be the well-heated torture chamber?

This form of discipline may be how we get children to behave or keep the criminally inclined in check, but good luck forming any society, let alone a self-governing one, if the vast majority of citizens don’t consistently listen to the “better angels of their nature.”

And what does it even say about someone who is motivated, not out of compassion or kindness, but simply by “eternal” self interest? Not much, I’m afraid…

It’s a silly quote written by someone who does not seem to possess a serious understanding of either human nature or democratic self-governing societies.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Tyler D,

Thanks for the compliment – but I am no writer.

I think the world is full of good and bad but that most people are good.

Religiously, the founders were certainly a mix. I suppose it might display a bit of hubris to say that perhaps some were disillusioned because of the same things Joseph found.

As to “the heavenly barcalounger” vs. “the well-heated torture chamber”. First, I love the barcalounger concept but it is definitely not part of Mormonism. We believe in work even in the afterlife.

Certainly within Mormon doctrine, the discipline is internal and very focused on doing it out of love – love for God, our families, our neighbors, and ourselves (in a non-narcissistic way).

I think the self-interest may appeal to us at the beginning – but it necessarily gives way over time to more altruistic feelings (if we are learning anything at all).

James1105
BOAZ, AL

I appreciate the article writer bringing up problems of religious persecution from the governments themselves, which is not only past, but present. The Founding Fathers spoke of Freedom From Religion as well as Freedom Of Religion. Such ideas were to be carried forward in the future as the US Government created new laws, as well as the States and their municipalities, yet, sadly, they don't seem to under the "spirit" of this law. Religious states and municipalities want to meld their religion in the laws/celebrations of their stetes and unreligious states want to impose their will over religious folks who like in those states.

Why? Is the Constitution a useless piece of paper? Don't they read and understand European history of off and on religious or secular totalitarianism? "Kill the infidels"! "Kill the Christians"!

Free exercise of religion, or from religion, doesn't exist in America.

EDM
Castle Valley, Utah

Tyler D,

You're right on here! I wanted to comment, but you've said all that needs to be said in reply to the article.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

"Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith." Faith, however, can be established without religion, which only abuses faith to serve its' own means.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Why not say free agency, since religion is what you do religiously, Like go to work on time. It's what's ageist my religion, like lieing, cheating or steeling.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

I can only hope the article writer did not "intentionally" fail to mention Islam, Buddahism, Hindi, Native American, or any of religion for that matter.

Jeudeo-Christian moral codes are just as defined and taught in any other religions.

My religion has taught me --

What goes around, comes around.
Treat others the way you expect to be treated.
The last shall be first, and first shall be last.

If you want religous freedom, you MUST allow others that same right.
If you don't protect theirs, why should anyone protect yours?

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

There is _zero_ evidence that ancient Egyptians ever had anything to do with ancient Israelites. None.

How fitting that the author invokes a fictional Hollywood movie to bolster the equally fictional "religious freedom is threatened!" argument.

Maudine
SLC, UT

It is very important to protect religious freedom - and a main part of that protection is not placing one person's beliefs above those of another and not allowing a person in a position of authority to use that authority to force their religion on others.

Personal religious freedom must be protected from those who would strip it away by insisting they have superior beliefs or rights. And every effort must be made to ensure they do not use the power of the law or the power of the purse to force others to choose between life or death, food or medical care, honoring their own beliefs or subjecting themselves to the beliefs of the powerful, or poverty or stability.

Please, please - honor your religious values and work to protect your right to worship as you believe - but do not stoop to destroying my rights in order to protect your own - or we will all lose.

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